Biennale of Sydney announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition

(Brook Andrew, Yasmin Smith, Hoy Cheong Wong, Koji Ryui, Mami Kataoka (21st Biennale of Sydney Artistic Director), Rika Noguchi, NS Harsha Photo: Catherine McElhoneMami Kataoka, Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney, has revealed the first group of 21 artists selected for the Asia Pacific’s leading contemporary art event. With around 70 artists expected to be included, this initial selection includes internationally renowned artists Ai Weiwei, Laurent Grasso, Haegue Yang and Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and provides insight into the themes of the 2018 edition.

Celebrating its 45th anniversary next year, the Biennale of Sydney will be presented over twelve weeks from Friday 16 March until Monday 11 June 2018 at multiple locations throughout Sydney. It will feature major new commissions and recent work by contemporary artists from Australia and around the world.

The 21 artists announced as part of the first reveal include one artist duo, ten artists from throughout Asia, five European artists, four Australian artists and one artist from North America. The artists include:

  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Born 1959 in Finland, lives and works in Helsinki)
  • Ai Weiwei (Born 1957 in China, lives and works in Beijing)
  • Brook Andrew (Born 1970 in Australia, lives and works in Melbourne)
  • Oliver Beer (Born 1985 in England, lives and works in Paris and London
  • Anya Gallaccio (Born 1963 in Scotland, lives and works in San Diego)
  • Laurent Grasso (Born 1972 in France, lives and works in Paris and New York)
  • N.S. Harsha (Born 1969 in India, lives and works in Mysore)
  • Mit Jai Inn (Born 1960 in Thailand, lives and works in Chiang Mai)
  • Kate Newby (Born 1979 in New Zealand, lives and works in Auckland and New York)
  •  Noguchi Rika (Born 1971 in Japan, lives and works in Okinawa)
  • Nguyen Trinh Thi (Born 1973 in Vietnam, lives and works in Hanoi)
  • Ciara Phillips (Born 1976 in Canada, lives and works in Glasgow)
  • Koji Ryui (Born 1976 in Japan, lives and works in Sydney)
  • Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman, born 1973 in England, and Joe Gerhardt, born 1972 in England, lives and works in Brighton)
  • Yasmin Smith (Born 1984 in Australia, lives and works in Sydney)
  • George Tjungurrayi (Born c. 1943 in Australia, lives and works in Kintore)
  • Nicole Wong (Born 1990 in Hong Kong, lives and works in Hong Kong)
  • Wong Hoy Cheong (Born 1960 in Malaysia, lives and works in Kuala Lumpur)
  • Yukinori Yanagi (Born 1959 in Japan, lives and works in Hiroshima)
  • Haegue Yang (Born 1971 in South Korea, lives and works in Berlin and Seoul)
  • Jun Yang (Born 1975 in China, lives and works in Vienna, Taipei and Yokohama)

“We are delighted to reveal the first 21 artists who will participate in the 21st Biennale of Sydney, including some of the most exciting contemporary artists of our time,” said Artistic Director, Mami Kataoka (Tokyo-based Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum). “We anticipate the exhibition will include around 70 artists in total, with conversations presently underway with more than 40 artists from around Australia and the world about their participation in the 45th anniversary edition.”

“Next year’s Biennale will explore multiple viewpoints in search of a state of equilibrium. With a holistic view, the 21st Biennale of Sydney will also seek in-depth engagement with individuals and communities while exploring a range of perspectives and meanings of abstractions.”

“Rather than focusing on a specific concept or theme, the exhibition will suggest multi-layered perspectives of the world and its histories simultaneously. In July this year, the exhibition title will be announced along with details of the themes and concerns informing this edition.”

Kataoka described the Biennale experience as: a journey; a walk through microcosms of the world today based on the stratum of history, human knowledge, emotions, desires and beliefs, as well as the mysteries of natural phenomena and the whole of the universe.

To commemorate the organisation’s 45th anniversary, the exhibition will revisit the Biennale’s rich history through a close examination of its Archive, drawing on 45 years of art and encounters. Since its inception in 1973, the Biennale of Sydney has showcased the work of nearly 1,800 artists from more than 100 countries, building a reputation as one of the leading international art events.

The 21st edition of the Biennale of Sydney runs Friday 16 March until Monday 11 June 2018 (preview: 13 – 15 March). For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Brook Andrew, Yasmin Smith, Hoy Cheong Wong, Koji Ryui, Mami Kataoka (Artistic Director, 21st Biennale of Sydney ), Rika Noguchi, NS Harsha – photo by Catherine McElhone